How to Prevent Holiday Heart Syndrome

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- A problem that affects the heart can cause trouble during the holidays due to overeating and drinking more alcohol than usual.

Judith Green has exercised at the Staunton-Augusta YMCA for the past five years to combat heart disease.

"I felt I wasn't getting enough exercise and I just love walking down here on this track because this track is so easy," she said.

Green tried to walk a mile every day, which would take nearly 2,000 miles to walk. This would equal 60 times the distance between Staunton and Harrisonburg.

"I'm not one of these people that cannot sit around and read and watch TV all day. I've got to be up and moving."

YMCA Fitness Director Wendy Shutty works with people like Green to help keep hearts healthy, especially during the holidays.

"It's critical, and you need it to be healthy," said Shutty.

Shutty said it's good to keep up good habits you've worked on while paying attention to the foods you might eat at holiday parties, since it could affect heart health.

Your heart is really a muscle, just like any other muscle in your body. You really have to make sure you maintain its health.

If you're looking to start taking care of your heart, experts say you should start out easy, like taking a 10 to 15 minute walk on a treadmill.

Green plans to enjoy holiday parties, but also said she'll keep up her habit of walking to stay healthy during the holidays.

"You feel better, as well as being healthy. You feel better if you're more fit," said Green.

Fitness experts said to talk to your doctor before you start a new exercise or diet program. That way, you can do what's best for your body.

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